London Labour and the London Poor, Volume 1

Mayhew, Henry


Of the Street-Sellers of Guide-Books, &C.


THIS trade, as regards a street-sale, has only been known for or years, and had its origination in the exertions of Mr. Hume, M.P., to secure to persons visiting the national exhibitions the advantage of a cheap catalogue. The guide-books were only sold, prior to this time, any public exhibition; and the profits—as is the case at present—were the perquisite of some official. When the sale was a monopoly, the profit must have been considerable, as the price was seldom less than , and frequently The guide-books, or, as they are more frequently called, catalogues, are now sold by men who stand at the entrance, the approaches, at a little distance on the line, or at the corners of the adjacent streets, at the following places:—the , the Vernon Gallery, the , , the , the Society of Arts (occasionally), the Art-Union (when open "free"), Greenwich Hospital, the Dulwich Gallery, , Windsor Castle, and Kew Gardens.

At any temporary exhibition, also, the same trade is carried on—as it was largely when the "designs," &c., for the decoration of the New Houses of Parliament were exhibited in Hall. There are, of course, very many other catalogues, or explanatory guides, sold to the visitors of other exhibitions, but I speak only of the -sale.

There are now, at the , guidebook-sellers plying their trade in the streets; at the ; at ; at the , but only on Saturdays, when the House is shown, by orders obtained gratuitously at the Lord Chamberlain's office, or "when appeals are on;" at the Vernon Gallery; at Dulwich (but not regularly, as there are none at present), at , " near each gate;" and , and sometimes , at Windsor (generally sent out by a shopkeeper there). There used to be at the Thames Tunnel, but "it grew so bad at last," I was told, "that a rat couldn't have picked up his grub at it—let alone a man."

Among all these sellers I heard statements of earning a most wretched pittance, and all attributed it to the same cause. By the is a board, on which is an announcement that the only authorized catalogue of the works of art can be obtained in the hall. There are similar announcements at other public places. man who had been in this street trade, but had abandoned it, spoke of these "boards," as he called them, with intense bitterness. "They're the ruin of any trade in the streets," he said. "You needn't think because I'm out of it now, that I have a pleasure in abusing the regulations; no, sir, I look at it this way. Mr. Hume had trouble enough, I know, to get the public a cheap catalogue, and poor men were allowed to earn honest bread by selling them in the streets, and honest bread they would earn still, if it weren't for the board. I declare solemnly a man can't


get a living at the trade. The publishers can't prepare their catalogues without leave, and when they've got leave, and do prepare and print them, why isn't a man allowed to sell them in the streets, as I've sold editions of the without ever the office putting out a notice that the only authorized copy was to be had within? God bless your soul, sir, it's shocking, shocking, poor men being hindered every way. Anybody that looks on the board looks on us as cheats and humbugs, and thinks that our catalogues are all takes-in. But I've heard gentlemen, that I'm sure knew what they were talking about, say, in case they'd bought in the street , and then seen the board and bought within after, so as to be sure of the real thing—I've heard gentlemen, say, sir,—'Why what we got in the street is the best after all.' Free trade! There's plenty said about free trade, but that board, sir, or call it what you please, gives a monopoly against us. What I have said, when I was starving on catalogues, is this: Kick us out of the streets, commit us for selling catalogues, as rogues and vagabonds; or give us a fair chance. If we sell, why is the only authorised catalogue sold only within? I wish Mr. Hume, or Mr. Cobden, either, only understood the rights of the matter —it's of no account to me myself now—and I think they'd soon set it to rights. Free trade! Over the left, and with more hooks than ."

I have no doubt that this representation and this opinion would have been echoed by the street catalogue-sellers, but they were evidently unwilling to converse freely on this branch of the subject, knowing the object for which I questioned them, and that publicity would follow. I attribute this reluctance chiefly to the fact that, all these poor men look forward to the opening of the Great Exhibition with earnest hope and anxiety that the influx of visiters will add greatly to their sale and profits; and they are unwilling to jeopardise their privilege of sale.

man told me that he believed, from his own knowledge, for he had not always "sold outside," that the largest buyers of these publications were country people, sight-seeing in London, for they bought the book not only as an explanatory guide, but to preserve as a memento of their visit. Such customers, however, I heard from several quarters, the moment they saw a "notice" as to the only authorised copy, looked upon the street-sellers as a systematised portion of the London sharpers, seeking whom they might devour, and so bought their catalogues "within."

The best customers in the streets for the catalogues are, I am assured, the working-classes, who visit the national exhibitions on a holiday. "I've oft enough heard them say," man stated, "'I'd rather pay a poor man any day, when I can spare it, than rich people I know what it is to fight for a crust.'"

At the , the street-sold catalogues are , , and ; in the hall, the authorised copy is sold at and At the , the street-charges are and ; there were catalogues of this institution, but they have been discontinued for the last half-year, being found too meagre. At the Vernon Gallery, the charge is ; but the guide-book to the contains also an account of the pictures in the Vernon Gallery. At the price is , and the same at the . At Hampton-court it is , , and , and at the same rate as regards the other places mentioned. At Hampton-court, I was told, the street-sellers were not allowed to approach the palace nearer than a certain space. man told me that he was threatened with being "had in for trespassing, and Mr. G——would make him wheel a roller. Of course," the man continued, "there's an authorised catalogue there."

The best sale of catalogues in the streets was at the exhibition of the works of art for the Houses of Parliament. The sellers, then— about in number, among whom were women—cleared and each daily. At present, I am assured, that a good week is considered in which is made, but that is more frequently the weekly earning. It must be borne in mind, that at the places most resorted to—the and the British Museum—the street sale is only for days in the week at the mentioned, and days at the . "You may think that more is made," said man, "but it isn't. Sweeping a good crossing is far better, far. Bless your soul, only stand a few minutes looking on, any day, and see what numbers and numbers of people pass in and out of a free admission place without ever laying out Why, only last Monday and Wednesday ( and , both very rainy days) I took only I didn't more than , and I leave you to judge the living I shall out of that; and I know that the man with the catalogue at another place, didn't take It's sad work, sir, as you stand in the wet and cold, with no dinner for yourself, and no great hope of taking home to your family."

These street-sellers contrive, whenever they can, to mix up other avocations with catalogue selling, as the public institutions close early. , on every occasion, sells editions of the newspapers; another has "odd turns at portering;" a sells old umbrellas in the streets; some sold exhibition cards in the Park, on Sundays, until the sale was stopped; another sells a little stationery; and nearly the whole of them resort, on favourable opportunities, to the sale of "books of the play," or of "the opera."

Reckoning that there are regularly street-sellers of guide-books—they do not interfere with each other's stations—and that each clears weekly, we find expended in this street traffic. I have calculated only on the usual bookseller's allowance of per cent.,


though, in some instances, these sellers are supplied on lower terms—besides having, in some of the catalogues, to the dozen; but the amount specified does not exceed the mark.

The greatest number of these guide-books which I heard of as having been sold, in any day, was dozen, disposed of on a fine Whit-Monday, and for these the street-seller only took There are, I was informed, half as many more "threepennies" as "sixpennies" sold, and times as many "pennies" as the other together.

The capital required to start is what may suffice to "lay in" a stock of books— generally.

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 Title Page
 The Street-Folk: Of Wandering Tribes in General
 Of the Wandering Tribes of this Country
 Of the London Street-Folk
Of the Number of Costermongers and Other Street-Folk
Of the Number of Costermongers and Other Street-Folk
Of the Varieties of Street-Folk in General, and Costermongers in Particular
Of Costermongering Mechanics
Ancient Calling of Costermongers
Of the Obsolete Cries of the Costermongers
Of the Costermongers 'Economically' Considered
The London Street Markets on a Saturday Night
The Sunday Morning Markets
Habits and amusements of Costermongers
Gambling of Costermongers
'Vic Gallery'
The Politics of Costermongers.-- Policemen
Marriage and Concubinage of Costermongers
Religion of Costermongers
Of the Uneducated State of Costermongers
Language of Costermongers
Of the Nicknames of Costermongers
Of the Education of Costermongers' Children
The Literature of Costermongers
Of the Honesty of Costermongers
Of the Conveyances of the Costermongers and Other Street-Sellers
Of the 'Smithfield Races'
Of the Donkeys of the Costermongers
Of the Costermongers' Capital
Of the 'Slang' Weights and Measures
Of Half Profits
Of the Boys of the Costermongers, and their Bunts
Of the Juvenile Trading of the Costermongers
Of the Education of the 'Coster-Lads'
The Life of a Coster-Lad
Of the 'Penny Gaff'
Of the Coster-Girls
The Life of a Coster Girl
Of Costermongers and Thieves
Of the More Provident Costermongers
Of the Homes of the Costermongers
Of the Dress of the Costermongers
Once Try You'll Come Again
Of the Diet and Drink of Costermongers
Of the Cries, Rounds, and Days of Costermongers
Of the Costermongers on their Country Rounds
Of the Earnings of Costermongers
Of the Capital and Income of the Costermongers
Of the Providence and Improvidence of Costermongers
Of the Costermongers in Bad Weather and During the Cholera
Of the Costermongers' Raffles
Of the Markets and Trade Rights of the Costerongers, and of the Laws Affecting Them
Of the Removals of Costermongers From the Streets
Of the Tricks of Costermongers
Of the Street-Sellers of Fish
Of Sprat-Selling in the Streets
Of the Street-Sellers of Fruit and Vegetables
Of the Stationary Street-Sellers of Fish, Fruit, and Vegetables
Of the Street-Irish
Of the Street-Sellers of Game, Poultry (Live and Dead), Rabbits, Butter, Cheese, and Eggs
Of the Sellers of Trees, Shrubs, Flowers (Cut and In Pots), Roots, Seeds, and Branches
Street-Sellers of Green Stuff
Of the Street-Sellers of Eatables and Drinkables
Of the Street-Sellers of Eatables and Drinkables
Of the Street-Sellers of Pea-Soup and Hot Eels
Of the Experience of a Hot-Eel and Pea-Soup Man
Of the Street-Sellers of Pickled Whelks
Of the Customers, Etc., of Pickled Whelk-Sellers
Of the Street Sellers, and of the Preparation of Fried Fish
Of the Experience of a Fried Fish- Seller, and of the Class of Customers
Of the Preparation and Quantity of Sheep's Trotters, and of the Street-Sellers
Statements of Sheep's Trotter Women
Of the Street Trade in Baked Potatoes
Of 'Trotting,' or 'Hawking' Butchers
Of the Experience of a Hawking Butcher
Of the Street-Sellers of Ham-Sandwiches
Of the Experience of a Ham Sandwich- Seller
Of the Street-Sellers of Bread
Of the Street-Sellers of Hot Green Peas
Of the Experience of a Hot Green Pea Seller
Of Cats' and Dogs'--Meat Dealers
Of the Street-Sale of Drinkables
Of Coffee-Stall Keepers
Of the Street Sale of Ginger-Beer, Sherbet, Lemonade, &c
Of the Experience and Customers of A Ginger-Beer Seller
Of the Street-Sellers of Hot Elder Wine
Of the Street Sale of Peppermint-Water
Of Milk Selling in St. James's Park
Of the Street Sale of Milk
Of the Street-Sale of Curds and Whey
Of the Street-Sellers of Rice-Milk
Of Water-Carriers
Of the Street-Sellers of Pastry and Confectionary
Of Street Piemen
Of the Street-Sellers of Boiled Puddings
Of the Street-Sellers of Plum 'Duff' or Dough
Of the Street-Sellers of Cakes, Tarts, &c.
Of Other Cake-Sellers in the Streets
Of the Street-Sellers of Gingerbread- Nuts, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Hot-Cross Buns, and of Chelsea Buns
Of Muffin and Crumpet-Selling in the Streets
Of the Street Sale of Sweet-Stuff
Of the Customers of the Sweet-Stuff Street-Sellers
Of the Street-Sellers of Cough Drops and of Medical Confectionary
'Lohoch de farfara,' the Lohoch of Coltsfoot
Of the Street-Sellers of Ices and of Ice Creams
Of the Capital and Income of the Street-Sellers of Eatables and Drinkables
Capital, or Stock in Trade, of the Street- Sellers of Eatables and Drinkables
Income, or 'Takings,' of Street-Sellers of Eatables and Drinkables
Of the Street-Sellers of Stationery, Literature, and the Fine Arts
Of the Street-Sellers of Stationery, &c.
Of the Former and Present Street- Patterers
Of the Habits, Opinions, Morals, and Religion of Patterers Generally
Of the Publishers and authors of Street-Literature
Of Long Song-Sellers
Of Running Patterers
Experience of a Running Patterer
Of the Recent Experience of a Running Patterer
Of the Chaunters
Of the Experience of a Chaunter
Of the Death and Fire Hunters
Of the Sellers of Second Editions
Of the Standing Patterers
Experience of a Standing Patterer
Of Political Litanies, Dialogues, etc.
Of 'Cocks,' Etc.
Of 'Strawing'
Of the Sham indecent Street-Trade
Of Religious Tract Sellers
Of a Benefit Society of Patterers
Of the Abodes, Tricks, Marriage, Character, and Characteristics of the Different Grades of Patterers
Of the Low Lodging-Houses of London
Of the Filth, Dishonesty, and Immorality of Low Lodging-Houses
Of the Children in Low Lodging- Houses
Of the Low Lodging-Houses Throughout the Country
Of the Street Stationers, and the Street Card-Sellers
Of the Seller of the Penny Short-Hand Cards
The Lecture
'I perish with hunger'
Of the Sellers of Race Cards and Lists
Of the Street-Sellers of Gelatine, of Engraved, and of Playing Cards, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Stationery
Of the Experience of a Street- Stationer
Of a 'Reduced' Gentlewoman, and a 'Reduced' Tradesman, as Street-Sellers of Stationery
Of the Street-Sale of Memorandum- Books and Almanacks
Of the Street-Sale of Pocket-Books and Diaries
Of the Street-Sellers of Songs
Of the Street 'Pinners-up,' or Wall Song-Sellers
Of Ancient and Modern Street Ballad Minstrelsy
Of Street 'Ballads on a Subject'
Of the Street Poets and Authors
Of the Experience of a Street Author, or Poet
Of the Street-Sellers of Broad-Sheets
Of the 'Gallows' Literature of the Streets
Of the Street-Sellers of Conundrums
Of the Street-Sellers of Comic Exhibitions, Magical Delusions, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Play-Bills
Of the Street-Sellers of Periodicals, Pamphlets, Tracts, Books, Etc.
Of the Street-Sale of Back Numbers
Of the Sale of Waste Newspapers at Billingsgate
Of the Sale of Periodicals on the Steam- Boats and Steam-Boat Piers
Of the Sale of Newspapers, Books, &c., at the Railway Stations
Of the Street Booksellers
Of the Character of Books of the Street-Sale
Of the Experience of a Street Book- Seller
Of Street Book-Auctioneers
Of the Street-Sale of Song-Books, and of Children's Books
Of the Street-Sellers of Account-Books
Of the Street-Sellers of Guide-Books, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Fine Arts
Of Street Art
Of the Street-Sellers of Engravings, Etc., in Umbrellas, Etc.
Of the Street-Sellers of Pictures in Frames
Of the Street-Sellers of Manuscript and Other Music
Of the Capital and Income of the Street-Sellers of Stationery, Literature, and the Fine Arts
Capital or Value of the Stock-in-Trade of the Street-Sellers of Stationery, Literature and the Fine Arts
Income, or Average Annual 'Takings,' of the Street-Sellers of Stationery, Literature, and the Fine Arts
An Epitome of the Pattering Class
Of the 'Screevers,' or Writers of Begging-Letters and Petitions
'God Save the Queen'
Of the Probable Means of Reformation
Of the Street-Sellers of Manufactured Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Manufactured Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Manufactured Articles in Metal
Of the Cheap Johns, or Street Han- Sellers
'The Original Cheap John'
The Crippled Street-Seller of Nut- Meg-Graters
Of the Swag-Shops of the Metropolis
Shopkeepers and Dealers Supplied with the Following Articles --
Of the Life of a Cheap-John
The Street-Sellers of Cutlery
Of the Blind Street-Sellers of Tailors' Needles, etc.
The Public-House Hawkers of Metal Spoons, Etc.
Of the Street-Sellers of Jewellery
Of the Pedlar-Jewellers
Of the Street-Sellers of Card-Counters, Medals, Etc.
The Construction is of Iron and of Glass, 1848 Feet Long. about Half is 456 Wide. the Remainder 408 Feet Wide, and 66 Feet High; Site, Upwards of 20 acres. Josh. Paxton, archt.
Of the Street-Sellers of Rings and Sovereigns For Wagers
Of the Street-Sellers of Children's Gilt Watches
Of the Street-Sellers of Tinware
Of the Life of a Tin-Ware Seller
Of the Street-Sellers of Dog-Collars
Of the Life of a Street-Seller of Dog- Collars
Of the Street-Sellers of Tools
Of the Beggar Street-Sellers
Pike's Patent Cotton. 120 Yards
'The Lace-Makers' Appeal'
'ALLEN, Printer, Long-row, Nottingham'
Of the 'House of Lords,' a Street-Seller's Defunct Club
Of the Street-Sellers of Crockery and Glass-Wares
Of the 'Swag,' Crockery, and Glass Shops
Of the Street-Sellers of Spar and China Ornaments, and of Stone Fruit
Of the Street-Sellers of Textile Fabrics
Of the Haberdashery Swag-Shops
Of Hawkers, Pedlars, and Petty Chapmen
Of the Packmen, or Hawkers of Soft Wares
Statement of a Packman
Of the Tally Packman
Of the 'Duffers' or Hawkers of Pretended Smuggled Goods
Of the Street-Sellers of 'Small-Ware,' or Tape, Cotton, Etc.
Of the Street-Sellers of Lace
Of the Street-Sellers of Japanned Table- Covers
Of the Street-Sellers of Braces, Belts, Hose, Trowser-Straps, and Waistcoats
Of the Street-Sellers of Boot and Stay- Laces, &c.
Of a Blind Female Seller of 'Small-Wares'
The Blind Street-Seller of Boot-Laces
Of the Life of a Blind Boot-Lace Seller
Of the Low Lodging-Houses
Statement of a Young Pickpocket
Statement of a Prostitute
Statement of a Beggar
Meeting of Thieves
Of the Country Lodging-Houses
Of the Street-Sellers of Chemical Articles of Manufacture
Of the Street-Sellers of Blacking, Black Lead, Etc.
Of the Street-Sellers of French Polish
Of the Street-Sellers of Grease-Removing Compositions
Of the Street-Sellers of Corn-Salve
Of the Street-Sellers of Glass and China Cement, and of Razor Paste
Of the Street-Seller of Crackers and Detonating Balls
Of the Street-Sellers of Lucifer-Matches
Of the Street-Sellers of Cigar Lights, or Fuzees
Of the Street-Sellers of Gutta-Percha Heads
Of the Street-Sellers of Fly-Papers and Beetle-Wafers
Of the Street-Sellers of Miscellaneous Manufactured Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Walking-Sticks
Of the Street-Sellers of Whips, Etc.
Of the Street-Sellers of Pipes, and of Snuff and Tobacco Boxes
Of the Street-Sellers of Cigars
Of the Street-Sellers of Sponge
Of the Street-Sellers of Wash-Leathers
Of the Street-Sellers of Spectacles and Eye-Glasses
Of the Street-Sellers of Dolls
Of the 'Swag-Barrowmen,' and 'Lot- Sellers'
Of the Street-Sellers of Roulette Boxes
Of the Street-Sellers of Poison For Rats
Of the Street-Sellers of Rhubarb and Spice
Of the Hawking of Tea
Of the Women Street-Sellers
Of the Children Street-Sellers of London